Feb 5, 2007

Building a fence

Clearing land
We have begun construction of a fence around our property, thanks to contributions from Woodbury Lutheran Preschool and others in the United States. The fence will prevent theft and vandalism and allow us to build a secure playground for the children. We have enough money for build the fence on one side of the property. We pray that God will bless our efforts with the funds to completely enclose our land. So far Luz Maria's son, Pedro, has been clearing a path for the fence, cutting down shrubs and removing stones and old tree roots.

We also hope at least to begin construction of a freestanding schoolhouse for Christian education of children beyond preschool and for adult education.Plans have been drawn up for a six-room facility which would cost $80,000 to $90,000 in total. We think the schoolhouse could be built one room at a time at a cost of $15,000 to $20,000 per year. At least one room in the school
could be used part-time as a chapel.

Children who desire baptismSeveral of our Sunday school children have expressed a desire to be baptized (most have never been baptized as members of any church). Luz Maria and I talked with their parents and their families at least have no objections to this taking place. Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod missionary Ted Krey has agreed to help us, on his next trip to Barinas to teach theological extension courses, to facilitate the baptisms being performed as soon as possible. The baptisms, of course, would only be the beginning of a Word-and-sacrament community in La Caramuca that would nurture the young Christians and perhaps one day contribute toward the support of the school.

With that in mind, our goals for the coming year including refocusing our efforts on evangelizing adults in the surrounding community. This probably will mean cutting back on some other activities. For instance, we may not be able to visit the neighboring community of Punta Gorda as much as we did in 2006, given the logistics of public transportation and the amount of time involved.

Three young menI will be spending a lot of time on the road anyway as I will participate, by invitation of the Lutheran Church of Venezuela, in an intensive missionary training program in Caracas this year. Starting this week (I am writing this newsletter from Caracas) I will spend four days out of every week in Venezuela's capital city through the end of May. Then from September through December I will spend another 13 weeks dividing my time between Caracas and La Caramuca. For the duration of each semester I will join with three young men (under 25 years of age) and two Venezuelans closer to my own age in studies which will strike a balance between evangelism, doctrine and application of faith to life. Pastor Ted Krey will serve as our instructor, while Alfonso Prada, pastor of El Salvador Lutheran Church, will be our chaplain, or spiritual counselor. In between semesters, we will be expected to attend one- to two-week-long short courses taught by seminary professors
and former missionaries from outside of Venezuela.

My goal is to acquire the skills necessary to help make our mission school a center for Christian education of adults as well as children in western Venezuela. When I first came to Venezuela I did not envision taking such a traditional missionary role, but it is a critical step toward planting churches in the relatively untouched territory where we live.

If you would like to contribute toward any or all of our activities this year, please send donations earmarked for "La Caramuca Lutheran Mission" to:

Venezuela Lutheran Mission Partnership
3089 Leyland Trail
Woodbury, Minnesota 55125

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